… a killer debut, a solid farewell and a triumphant return: The best show 2019, so far?

It took the Descendents and the Mighty Mighty BossTones 21 fucking years to come  back to Hamburg … and it took the mighty D.I. 25 years to be back at Hamburg shores, a place that in the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s was full of D.I. devotees.

So when the news came around that they hit Europe the Hafenklang was sold out quickly: It was a Friday evening in Summer, they paired with Poison Idea on their farewell stint and had with Yard Bomb the hardest and corest local support that you could wish for. People came from far and also near – the Hamburg lot was in full contingent and even Bremen showed up in force.

The unpleasant support the support slot was for Causes from Hanover, they had to lure 200+ people drinking and chatting outside the Hafenklang into the main room and in front of the stage.

Causes (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

They did not succeed. I gave it a try, as i am always keen to see new bands. But they just did not touch my soul with their rather dark punk. They also looked a wee bit static on the stage, so i had to let go for another beer and another chat.  But by all means, make up your own mind and check them out.

With a swift changeover it was time for Yard Bomb, currently for me the hottest hard core unit on the local circuit. And they kicked of like this:

Their drummer was absent with leave, so their old drummer filled in after leaving 5 years ago to give them the opportunity to excel on the same stage as D.I. and Poison Idea.

They had a rooster of 14 songs prepared and from the kick off it felt that they wanted to shove it up the audience ears with no fills and no frills: Net they clocked in at 21:05 for the 14 songs, that is a near perfect 80 seconds per song on average (and allowed for 10 seconds between songs).

Yard Bomb - Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019)
Yard Bomb – Setlist (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019)

Their visual on stage is still a nice spread: Rolf yells, moans and groans and has every muscle full of relentless energy, Benny smiles and hammers the bass and Sven has his guitar strapped high and generates both knife sharp chords and a chaotic swirl. And all of that backed by solid drumming (though sometimes you could make out that they most likely did not have too many hours in rehearsal together).

Yard Bomb (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

I loved the energy, i loved the mu-sick-al Blitzkrieg and the take no prisoners attitude. At times i even had the feeling they would overtake themselves but i saw a couple of smiles on the stage so they looked all happy with the effort.

Yard Bomb (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

They have a veritable hit (one of my top 10 songs by a Hamburg band) and that one sounded in a speed up trash’n’burn version like this:

Sing-a-long to this beauty:

Milhouse will be a better man
Next 40 years from now
Don't smoke
Don't drink
Don't fuck around
Everything is turning up 
On Milhouse right now

Will be a better man
The next 40 years
Will be a better man
Don't smoke
Don't drink
Don't fuck
Don't curse

Milhouse!

If you ask me for my humble opinion (and that comes with 40 years of listening to that genre called widely Punk or Hardcore Punk or even Hardcore) that is perfect song that you would think came out of California or Washington DC say 1983 – but not out of Hamburg, in the year 2014 resp. 2019. Kudos Yard Bomb – you got me!

That Poison Idea finally say farewell in contrast was less than a surprise. Too many in’s and out’s, too many health and other problems. And sure losses like the passing of Pig Champion  But Jerry kept things together like on this final tour, where a last minute change had to be done to guitars.

Poison Idea (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

What the audience got was nevertheless a great showcase of the wide variety of the Poison Idea output (that actually stretches from 1983 to 2016 and still puts #recordcollectorsarepretentiousarseholes to a stunning test in getting a complete collection).

And how did it sound? It sounded quite well:

The strength of the set to me was that for more than half of the songs the audience carried the band forward with all the singing, dancing and energy – one final time both Poison Idea and Hamburg where indeed united in their loved for hard & cheap.

Poison Idea (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Jerry smiled a couple of times and thanked people for coming out. I’d like to reply that this was the minimum to do, they have been around for me almost all the time (and stock 18 record in my collection) and some of their output is definitely stuff that i will carry into the elderly home (once the rest of the collection is auctioned off to pay the fees).

Thanks Jerry for all the years of effort!

By now it was quite late (10 minutes to midnight) and there was still the headliner to come back on us after 25 years.

And this is how D.I. came back:

They came back as a 4 piece (though i heard rumors they would come with two guitars, did not get to check out more detail) and with a lineup that has been together now since 2003 (so for a while, though it is Casey who has been around ever since and that is since 1981).

D.I. (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Their strength sure is their early output until 1988 – for us over here the stuff was just like honey: Sweet. Sticky. And of quality. Little did we know over here about the many line up changes, there must have been like 20 different line-ups with Casey being the only constant.

But what it always had was a quality O.C. Hardcore sound. That cool blend of various bits of Rock, Punk, Surf and all of that neatly given some speed (in both senses).

D.I. (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

Those with an eye for the more historic side of Punk Rock sure know that Casey was the original drummer for the Adolescents and as such he took great pleasure in the design of both the Yard Bomb debut 12″ and the matching T-Shirt. He even took it on stage and used it to deliver praise for the late Steve Soto (and that was echoed from the audience with some For Steve! returns).

And his old Adolescents classic (actually, again for those versatile in Punk Rock History, a Detours song by Messrs Royer and Agnew) was his own ode to his old mate Steve – here is Amoeba, 2019 Version by D.I.:

To no surprise the audience went ape shit. Loads of dancing, loads of singing and across the board very bright smiles not only in front of the stage but also to the back of a fully packed Hafenklang.

The most smiles actually came from the stage: Joey Tatar on drums not only does every trick in the drummer book with his sticks (and then some more not in any book), he also pulls faces left, right and center. Once you fixed your eyes on him you could not let go – it was utmost fun!

D.I. - The Drummer (utmost fun and pulling faces galor (c) gehkacken.de 2019)
D.I. – The Drummer (utmost fun and pulling faces galor (c) gehkacken.de 2019)

They came back more than once and they gave the audience everything and a wee bit more. As one of me mates noted it is not custom for US bands to come back for an encore – but coming back three times and late into the night, that is just class.

D.I. (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 19.07.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)

With all that fun, all that joy there where also toned down moments, moments where Casey (a heroin victim himself) praised those who made a step away from drugs (and never returned to them) and he was also careful enough to explain that „Richard hung himself“ is actually not a fun song but a hard truth. As such he urged people to take care of those around him. Well done Casey, well done.

Casey’s own issues with drugs have been in the news, up to and including not so fun family moments that made the press. His advise offered in an interview was simple: „My advice… hard drugs will ruin you and your music, unless you live in Amsterdam. Then you will write good music, but die young.

They played until 01:00 and they left behind a still full, fully sweaty and extraordinary happy Hafenklang. On top they also had class manners, thanking each audience member that came forward for a chat.

I resorted back to the bar for beer, to the merch for two Yard Bomb 12″ (that i have to picture below in color … because of the cover, sure thing) and a Poison Idea T-Shirt for me love. And more beer. And more chats.

I can only urge you to get this beauty upon real release (that’ll be 27.09.2019) or attend the record release party at the Hafenklang on 02.10. (with the mighty Razors and Suck). Make sure you buy like me an extra one to make it a gift. Try to convince someone outside of Hamburg of Yard Bomb! Mine will go south and i am looking forward for the feedback…

…  and with a broad smile i finally took off home, yet again through empty streets on my short stroll uphill and home.

Whilst i was on the way to bed, the docks yonder still kept working on the cruise ship – i wonder when that finally will be done with the makeover.

Thanks for Hafenklang for setting this up and thanks to lot and the bands for making it a very worthwhile entertainment. Farewell to Poison Idea, hello to Yard Bomb and dear D.I. – be back soon!

… April again? Must be time for Poison Idea then … and some free beer!

Jerry only got it by a couple of days off – almost a year ago Poison Idea where in Europe and graced the Hafenklang. This time round they are on a month long trip through out Europe, from Rotterdamn across mainland Europe, Scandinavia and back to Amsterdamned. A tough ride i’d say with plenty of shows.

Sort Of Sober (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 06.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
Sort Of Sober (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 06.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

First on Sort Of Sober who stepped in for Restmensch (and are actually 1/5th Restmensch, nevermind). Female fronted punk rock with some subtle elements of … all sort of other things. What worked well was when the singer and the guitar player traded vocals back/forth and when the other guitar did throw in a tiny scent of surf-style guitar. And when they did sing in spanish, of all languages.

Some other things did not work for me at all, namely their ABBA cover (and some of the bumpier mu-sick). But overall not a bad impression and if they do more of scream, growl and back/forth and pair that with versatile mu-sick they will make my day!

Hello and good evening ladies and gents…aaahhhh“ from Jerry A (slimmed down again), Eric Olson (flying V not polished), Brandon Bentley (hair not spiked), Chris Carey (bass not well connected) and a new kid on the drums: Mickey Widmer (with gloves). And off it went – with Poison Idea’s massive list of songs that actually rarely sucks we thus were on the road to some great entertainment.

Poison Idea (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 06.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
Poison Idea (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 06.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

There was a wee bit of a slow start, at least in my ears they where not glued together initially and the typical massive PI-Heavydutytruck-blasting-over-you Sound only came through over the course of the set. Did they party too much the day before in Berlin? Tired? Under the influence? Cold? No clue and it also did not matter much!

What did matter though was the fact that someone actually tried to tell Jerry that Jever was a good beer. Scandal! It might be a good free beer but for me it ain’t the right choice. But hey, they sponsor somehow the Hafenklang and the bands (and put that high quality expensive deluxe sign on the stage,there, back in the right far corner), so let’s be friendly and un-punk … for once.

But it did not stop them to throw more slabs of killer songs onto the well packed Hafenklang (for a rainy Wednesday it was quite some turnout) and get the crowd going. There where some misses though, if i had commandment over the set list i’d love to see some more songs from especially „We must burn“ but that again is selfish me. With 11 Albums, 24 EP’s and some contributions to compilations they have a rooster way too big to be condensed into a single set.

Poison Idea (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 06.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
Poison Idea (Hafenklang, Hamburg, 06.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

And because of that huge rooster the final song was to be … not from Poison Idea. But from history. So with some smoke from the machinery, the standard tour joke („It’s our drummers birthday, give him some weed„) they kicked into a longtime standard – for the very last time Jerry claimed. We took note of that, mate, we took note!

So was it something special? No. Was it something new? No. Was it something that will stand out? No. It was plain good entertainment and music savored in they way it should be: Live, from a touring band and paying for band and club to keep them going. It’s time for retirement, i may then do that every single day.